Monday, May 31, 2004

May 30 - Dallas, TX setlist

Middle Man
Funny Vibe
Memories Can't Wait
Leave It Alone
A ? of When
In Your Name
Open Letter
Love Rears
Cult Of Personality

*thanks Alien

Thanks to Sam's #1 Living Colour fan site for this information!
Listen to Vernon Reid and Masque's latest disc "Known Unknown", courtesy of Favored Nations and win an iPod autographed by Vernon Reid.

also - it seems the official Living Colour site is temporarily down. Once it's updated and back online, we will try to alert the fans.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Will Calhoun, Mos Def and Meshell Ndegocello - LIVE
Friday, August 27
Mos Def presents BIG
The Spirit Music Sextet featuring Meshell Ndegeocello
Mos Def, the multi-talented rapper, rocker, and stage and screen actor, continues his explorations of jazz with the premiere of Big. Drawing from material by Miles Davis, Chick Corea, Gil-Scott Heron, Beyonce and original compositions, Mos Def and his big band, with musical direction by percussionist Will Calhoun (Black Jack Johnson/Living Colour) explode the boundaries between jazz, soul and hip-hop."Mos Def has proven himself an explorer as well as an eclectic…further development along these [jazz] lines really would be something to behold--for Mos devotees and open-minded jazz fans alike." - Jazztimes

Spirit Music. Improvisational sound exploration. New compositions influenced by life, Miles Davis, Kool Herc, Carl Sagan and holyscripture. What jazz and funk originally implied for the future. Meshell Ndegeocello has pulled together some of the best and most creativemusicians in the world to raise praises, shouts and celebrations ofindividual interpretation. The legendary Oliver Lake and Ron Blake on saxophones; Peck Allmond on trumpet, tuba, flute and kalimba; Michael Cain on piano; Chris Dave on drums and DJ Jahi Sundance. Meshell, celebrated bassist and Grammy-nominated solo artist, provides artistic direction as well as her innovative compositions. Suitable for free minds, open hearts and shaking behinds.

7pm, Price $40 for general public / $35 for Public Theater members (see for details)

Friday, May 28, 2004

Many Colors of Vernon Reid

Guitarist who changed rock moves on to jazz, fusion and fresh faces

News Pop Music Critic

As guitarist with Living Colour, Vernon Reid created a musical revolution that predated the early 90s grunge explosion. Though Reid's contributions were eclipsed in the commercial sense by the ascendancy of artists like Nirvana and Soundgarden, his work has far broader implications than does grunge's inspired but ultimately self-reflective updating of early '70s heavy metal.
Reid, in fact, had tapped into a deeper zeitgeist, one that encompassed the human cry of the African-American experience related in the work of such artists as Robert Johnson, Skip James, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis and Ornette Coleman. And he did it all while playing a form of music that was essentially hard rock.

Living Colour's mass popularity peaked, sadly, with its riveting debut effort, "Vivid," a record that crossed genres well before rap-metal reared its ugly head. Arriving fully formed, Reid's guitar work was from the beginning sophisticated and primal, a jarring blend of agonized flurries of gloriously distorted notes and elegant melodic passages that went well over the heads of many commercial rock listeners.

It was clear from the beginning - just listen again to the skittish, modal riff around which Living Colour's hit "Cult of Personality" revolves - that Reid was up to something different.

Journalist/author/musician Greg Tate, with whom Reid formed the Black Rock Coalition, an aggregate of musicians, industry folks and journalists, some 20 years ago, spoke of the reason behind both his partnership with Reid and the pair's view of the dilemma facing modern African-American music.

"If you can't really know the context that all of this music evolved from in its own time, then maybe you are going to be a little alienated, a little ignorant, maybe even a bit nonresponsive to what that music is saying," Tate told a Toronto journalist.

Throughout his career, Reid has been anything but nonresponsive to what the music is saying. Though Living Colour split in the mid-'90s and Reid dove headlong into a variety of solo projects in various idioms, from fusion to avant garde, Reid never lost the plot. His playing retained a searing, soaring spirituality throughout.

When Living Colour re-formed last year to record the striking "Collideoscope" and commence touring - a jaunt that included a rain-soaked but transcendent appearance as part of last summer's Thursday at the Square - Reid was clearly focused. He reclaimed a sound that many - from Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello to less adventurous rap-metal guitarists - had borrowed from him.

Now Reid returns with another project outside the Living Colour family, this time a collaboration with Masque, a group of some of New York City's finest underground musicians in the jazz, avant garde and rock worlds. The album, the aptly titled "Known Unknown," offers a dizzying instrumental tour through Reid's fertile imagination and the collective intensity of his cohorts.

It's hard to name another rock guitarist who is able to draw from a palette as broad as the one Reid employs. There's an unmistakable heaviness to "Known Unknown," but it is underscored by influences ranging from Jeff Beck, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Hendrix to Santana, James Blood Ulmer, electric Miles Davis and Ornette Coleman. "Bitches Brew"-like improvisational meltdowns like "Down and Out in Kigali and Freetown" sit comfortably snug against the Dick Dale-does-modal jazz romp "The Outskirts."

Reid and his players - keyboardist Leon Gruebaum, bassist Hank Schroy, drummer Marlon Browden, guest DJ Logic - also reharmonize and reconfigure a pair of jazz tunes (what Reid calls "fractured standards") in the form of Thelonius Monk's "Brilliant Corners" and Lee Morgan's "Sidewinder," both of which find Reid offering dizzying juxtapositions of harmonic fury and fluid, emotional release.

"I think of Masque as a component part of my life's expression," Reid has said. It's easy to see why. Like Reid's life, which has seen him challenge stereotypes and buck the system, so does "Known Unknown" push the envelope of our standard notions of black and white, harmony and discord, beauty and ugliness.•

Reid and Masque perform at 7 tonight in Club Infinity, 8166 Main St., Williamsville. Tickets are $17 (box office, Call 565-0110.

For guitarist Reid, some things don't change

Guitarist Vernon Reid is staging his own revival.

A few years ago, Living Colour, the groundbreaking hard rock group that peaked in the late '80s and early '90s, played a few reunion gigs at CBGB, and that led to a tour and a comeback CD, "CollideOscope" (Sanctuary). Now Reid has just released "Known Unknown" (Favored Nations), the first disc in eight years by his instrumental project, Masque. And Masque is on tour; tomorrow night, they will play at Joe's Pub, 425 Lafayette St. In addition to that, Reid is working with DJ Logic on the next Yohimbe Brothers recording as well as working a few film and dance scores.

In other words, the more things change, the more they stay the same. For years in the '80s and '90s, it seemed you couldn't walk three blocks without stumbling onto some Reid project. He had jazz projects, world music collaborations, electronica endeavors, and it seemed he was always involved in some hip tribute being organized for Prince, Joni Mitchell or someone. In addition, The Black Rock Coalition, an organization that Reid co-founded in 1985 to address institutional racism in the music industry, was always holding some sort of showcase or panel that might involve him. But after Masque's 1996 disc "Mistaken Identity," the recording activity slowed down markedly. But Reid evidently kept the same furious pace, working on scores for dance companies and films. Inspired by Bernard Hermann's score to the science fiction classic, "The Day the Earth Stood Still," Reid began working with filmmakers and has scored a series of independent films by Thomas Allen Harris as well as "Mr. 3000," the upcoming Bernie Mac baseball movie.

Reid said the new Masque CD concerns many of the same issues he addressed on the first one eight years ago. "It's an instrumental investigation into identity," he said alliteratively by phone from Boston, where Masque played last week. "In some ways it's about the idea of the idea of Africa, and how that gets twisted in translation." While the subject matter is a tad heavy, the music is actually somewhat breezy, filled with sterling guitar work, superb drumming from newcomer Marlon Browden as well as stellar play from bassist Hank Schroy and keyboardist Leon Gruenbaum. The music ranges all over the map from the crunchy "Flatbush and Church" to a cover of Lee Morgan's finger-poppin' jazz anthem "The Sidewinder."

(Shows are at 7:30 and 9:30, tickets are $23 and available via Tele-charge at 212-239-6200.)

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Living Colour May 30th, 2004 - Dallas, TX

Living Colour, Little Morphine Annie and Vince Neil
MAY 30th, 7:00 p.m.,
Joe Pool Lake
@ LIVE 105.3 FM's 4th Anniversary Party!

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Vernon Reid Puts on Masque

Eight years have passed since Vernon Reid last put out a record under his own handle. In that time, Reid has added his guitar to numerous recordings by other artists, and he also successfully resurrected Living Colour with his bandmates for a new album (last year's CollideOscope) and tour. But just released the new Known Unknown, recorded with his Masque band -- keyboard whiz Leon Gruenbaum, bassist Hank Schroy and drummer Marlon Browden -- marking only the second time Reid has put his name on top of an album that tips its hat to his jazz roots.
Reid calls the band "an outgrowth" of the group that recorded his other foray as leader of a jazz session, Mistaken Identity, in 1996. Like that recording, Known Unknown finds Reid relishing the opportunity to smear genres together and create new sounds that meddle with tradition but in an inclusive, rather than divisive manner. Known Unknown's sense of variety could be due in part to its sessions, which were strung out over years, as Reid and his cohorts entered the studio when their respective schedules allowed. "We were stealing away time whenever we could," Reid says. "We'd tour a bit and go into the studio and break apart and then get back together. But the feeling the band generates is really organic and warm . . . and very weird too [laughs]. They're very good at surprising me."

Among the inspired surprises is a eye-popping reinvention of Thelonious Monk's "Brilliant Corners" into an urgent rave-up. "It's very reverent and irreverent at the same time," says Reid. "Monk was such an iconoclast, so unique. He was an incredible composer and pianist, but also this odd unique figure. That oddness, that quirkiness is something to celebrate, and that's what we tried to do. To get some of that strong Sixties rhythm and blues jazz thing, that great sound that came before the rock jazz fusion."

Another cut, "Flatbush and Church," is a tribute to a cross street in a largely Caribbean neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, where Reid grew up after moving to the States from London. "That's a tribute to the Brooklyn diaspora," he says. "So much of Brooklyn is fascinating. You can go down Church Avenue and you really are in another country. Brooklyn's been under the radar for a long time, but those streets, Flatbush and Church and Eastern Parkway and Nostrand Avenue, they formed me in a lot of ways."

Much of Reid's jazz training was from a more esoteric avant garde bent, but Known Unknown manages to fuse a difficult style with a universal sense of melody. Reid credits hearing John Coltrane's version of the musical classic "My Favorite Things" with always keeping him focused on the melody itself, particularly on cuts like the playful "Outskirts." "A jazz teacher in high school played that for me," he says. "And I remember going on a class trip years before to Radio City to see The Sound of Music. The feeling of that song the way Coltrane played it related to the way Julie Andrews did it, but it was coming from a different place. I'm attracted to those simple melodies, they're my favorite things in jazz."

With Living Colour's touring jag done for the time being, Reid will now take Known Unknown out for some dates in the States and Europe. "I just want to beat the drum," he says. "I hope people will take it to heart, because that's how it was delivered. It was a product of a great deal of affection between the players. A real feeling for the pieces of music and a desire to push the envelope too, but in a gentle way, not this kind of outside bad motherfuckerism. So many of my heroes, their egos blew it up; you have to remember that no musician is bigger than the music. The music should play the musicians. The key is getting out of its way."

(May 12, 2004)

Chicago Sun Times review of Known Unknown


Through his work with Living Colour, James "Blood" Ulmer and Jack Bruce, Vernon Reid has earned a reputation as a premier rock guitarist. But the founding member of the Black Rock Coalition is a jazz freak as well, and this instrumental CD with Masque scratches that itch.

Reid is a flamethrower of a jazz-rock guitarist in the John McLaughlin mold, as he quickly establishes on the opening title track. But he's also among the most versatile of axmen, working under a broad stylistic umbrella that also includes fusion, funk, acid and modal jazz, surf and metal music. Despite his technical mastery, he resists the temptation to overplay.

Still, "Known Unknown" is a genre-hopping minor masterpiece rather than Reid's definitive artistic statement. He still seems to be casting about for his true musical calling.

Jeff Johnson

Friday, May 21, 2004

Will Calhoun Drum Clinic: World Beats & Sounds
Saturday, June 5th, 2004

At the world famous Blue Note 131 W.3rd St., NY, NY 10012
2 - 4pm
Doors open at 1:30 pm.
Admissions are $10 for students with a valid ID and $20 for general public.

Attendees can pre-purchase tickets via

Reservations can be made on line or on the phone, 212-475-8592.

Description: Will Calhoun will display his research and experience in Rock-n-Roll, Hip-Hop, Jazz, drum-n-bass, Funk, Dub, Reggae, Ambient, and other World music styles, with electronic and acoustic interpretations, combining "the Bush" with "the Street".

Will Calhoun is best known for his ground breaking percussion concepts and musical diversity with artists such as Living Colour, Wayne Shorter, Pharaoh Sanders, Mick Jagger, B.B.King, Jaco Pastorious, Nana Vasconcellos, Herb Alpert, and recently recording and producing tracks for MOS DEF.

Will has spent the past few years researching drumming and rhythm with Master Tribal leaders in Central and South America, Morocco(Gnawa Masters), and the Out Back of Australia. "This research allows me to understand the History of certain grooves......while lacing these grooves with electronic timbres.

* Don't miss Vernon Reid and Masque on tour now! *

Thursday, May 20, 2004

One Club Under A Groove

There was a time when African-American musicians didn't play much rock guitar. Sure, Robert Johnson paved the way with his devil blues, and Chuck Berry rocked us around the clock. Jimi Hendrix turned the world upside down with his gorgeous distortion and ferocious chops, and Funkadelic's Eddie Hazel spun our heads around. But black rock pretty much faded away in the 1980s. So much so that musician Vernon Reid cofounded something called the Black Rock Coalition to give black rock a boost. Reid's band, Living Colour, brought together hard rock, funk, jazz, and progressive rock in quite a package and sold more than 4 million albums. Reid has guested with folks such as Mick Jagger, the Ramones, B. B. King, Carlos Santana, and Public Enemy. Ask Reid his influences and he'll tell you the Sex Pistols, Ornette Coleman, King Crimson, Tool, Kool and the Gang, and the Flintstones. Tonight at Johnny D's, Reid brings that mind-set and his latest band, Masque, to the stage. (Bonus trivia: Most people think Reid comes from Brooklyn, N.Y., but he was actually born in the UK.) The show starts at 9 p.m. with Julien Kasper opening. Cover: $16.

17 Holland St., Somerville, 617-776-2004.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Vernon Reid and Masque tour dates
Check them out!

Wed 05/19/04 Hartford, CT Webster Theatre / Underground Tickets via
Thu 05/20/04 Somerville, MA Johnny D's
Fri 05/21/04 Kingston, NY The Forum
Sat 05/22/04 Rochester, NY Montage Grille
Mon 05/24/04 Victoriaville, QC Colises Des Bois
Tue 05/25/04 Ottawa, ON Babylon
Wed 05/26/04 Toronto, ON The Reverb Tickets via ticketmaster
Thu 05/27/04 Hamilton, ON Underground
Fri 05/28/04 Williamsville, NY Club Infinity Tickets via
Sat 05/29/04 New York, NY Joe's Pub Tickets via search by show - R-Z [for vernon reid and masque] ) (2 shows 7:30 and 9:30pm)

Vernon Reid and Masque - Known Unknown review

Vernon Reid used his serious guitar skills to create the great black pop/metal band, Living Colour, which had its commercial heyday in the early '90s. As a founding member of the Black Rock Coalition, he continued to explore the connections of rock to jazz, blues and soul.

For this disc, on Steve Vai's Favored Nations label, Reid rocks but experiments with soul, R&B and a bit of funk. The opening title track and "Brilliant Corners" feature hot additions from organ/keyboard guru Leon Gruebaum, but it's Reid's fluid riffs and fiery staccato runs that provide proof of his guitar-hero status. Emotional, gritty and even a bit risky at times, Reid excels especially on "Strange Blessing," "Sidewinder" and "Time."

- Brian Q. Newcomb

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Vernon Reid won't be hiding behind Masque
By Steve Morse, Globe Staff | May 14, 2004

For Vernon Reid, life is all about the edges. It's about pursuing individuality at any cost, which Reid has done whether playing with Living Colour (which opened the Rolling Stones' "Steel Wheels" tour), collaborating with the Roots and Carlos Santana, producing tracks for James "Blood" Ulmer and Salif Keita, or serving as the driving force behind his new band, Masque, which comes to town next week.

"I'm just trying to find my own trip," says Reid, a nonconformist at almost every level. "There's a very well-studied, adept, very clean profile of the modern musician these days, but there are very few unique characters out there. We've gotten away from that."

Reid has a point. He has a low-key personality, but his character stands out in his music. In his stellar guitar playing, he mixes shredding speed and subtle melodies and bridges progressive rock, free jazz, blues, and what he calls "psychedelic weirdness." His influences run from Ornette Coleman to the Beatles -- and it's all part of the fusion-rock stew in "Known Unknown," the new all-instrumental record from Vernon Reid & Masque, which headlines Johnny D's on Thursday.

"Artistically I've been into a bunch of things . . . I'm certainly not into making the same music over and over," says Reid, the London-born, Brooklyn-raised guitarist who in recent years has reunited Living Colour and made an album with the Yohimbe Brothers, which consists of Reid and DJ Logic.

"This is a dream life to have been in the presence of so many artists known and unknown," says Reid, whose new album is on Steve Vai's Favored Nations label, also home to Boston guitarist Johnny A, whom Reid admires. "Johnny is looking for a personal approach in his playing," says Reid. "And those are the guys I like."

Next week, Reid will play a number of the new Masque songs (the group now includes drummer Marlon Browden from John Scofield's band) and likely add a cover of Radiohead's "The National Anthem" from its "Kid A" album. "I have an obsession with Radiohead," Reid says. What kind of musician says his obsessions run from Miles Davis to Radiohead? A unique one.

Vernon Reid A Man Of Questions
May 13, 2004

Vernon Reid doesn't talk in straight lines. The Living Colour frontman, composer, producer and photographer speaks in ever-tightening circles, as if surveying his eventual point from every possible angle to make sure it's exactly the way he wants it. It's a circuitous way to converse, but Reid's digressions result in some fascinating insights.

Take, for example, his thoughts on "Known Unknown." The album is Reid's latest project, and his second record with a group of musicians calling themselves Masque. The first, "Mistaken Identity," came out in 1996. The new album embraces Reid's downtown avant-garde beginnings, with a mix of funk, jazz and experimental sounds on a dozen instrumentals.

"Roots is roots," he says from his New York studio, before leaving on a tour that stops Wednesday in Hartford. "I think that the Masque project, the Masque band, allows me to really utilize my guitar in a more upfront way and look at a lot of the same questions from a different angle from, say, Living Colour."

What questions?

"What is the role of instrumental music? What kind of public discourse can melody have?" Reid says.

If that's not esoteric enough, Reid is happy to elaborate.

"These two records, `Mistaken Identity' at one end in the '90s and `Known Unknown,' they're records that look into ... the nature of reality and identity," he says. "What are the limits of identity?"

Heavy questions. Yet Reid isn't concerned with the answers, if there are any.

"I think any conclusion you have can be countermanded, you know. It's sort of like, at one point or another, people accept the story and that's one of the ideas about the whole American thing," he says.

The American thing in question is the narrative arc of this country's history as taught in schools: the nobility of the American Revolution, the manifest destiny of westward expansion and so on.

"It's designed to create loyal citizens that are at the very least proud and at the other extreme, chauvinistic, about who they are," Reid says.

Fair enough, but what does that have to do with his music?

Quite a bit, as it happens. Reid says his songs are ideas meant to evoke feelings. He points to "Voodoo Pimp Stroll" from "Known Unknown" as an example.

"I remember one time, I was on 8th Avenue, and I hear Curtis Mayfield playing really loudly, like `Superfly,' and I'm kind of getting my groove on, it's great. And the person driving the car - it was a top-down Cadillac - he was wearing a wide-brimmed hat and he was driving down 8th Avenue playing `Superfly' on the stereo. It was like a movie was being filmed. It was like, wow, you're really that guy. It wasn't like he was doing it for any particular audience. He was that guy. He wasn't being postmodern or ironic, he was being pimp," Reid says. "I just kind of flipped that to another place, just imagined, like, a voodoo priest pimp. What would that be like? What would his theme music be?"

There is surely a more concise way to explain all that. But it wouldn't be half as interesting.

Reid performs Wednesday at the Webster Theatre, 31 Webster St., Hartford. Tickets are $15; doors open at 6 p.m. Information: 860-525-5553.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Vernon Reid and Masque Tour May 2004

Mon 05/17/04 Trenton, NJ Conduit Tickets via
Tue 05/18/04 DC - no show scheduled (pollstar info is incorrect)
Wed 05/19/04 Hartford, CT Webster Theatre / Underground Tickets via
Thu 05/20/04 Somerville, MA Johnny D's
Fri 05/21/04 Kingston, NY The Forum
Sat 05/22/04 Rochester, NY Montage Grille
Mon 05/24/04 Victoriaville, QC Colises Des Bois
Tue 05/25/04 Ottawa, ON Babylon
Wed 05/26/04 Toronto, ON The Reverb Tickets via ticketmaster
Thu 05/27/04 Hamilton, ON Underground
Fri 05/28/04 Williamsville, NY Club Infinity Tickets via
Sat 05/29/04 New York, NY Joe's Pub Tickets via search by show - R-Z [for vernon reid and masque] )

check out Vernon Reid's official site live dates section for links and locations

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Will Calhoun and Doug Wimbish - FRIDAY NIGHT NYC

Friday, May 14th, 2004 - Will and Doug Wimbish perform with Brazilian composer-singer-musician-programmer Fernanda Porto at Joe's Pub in Manhatten.

Joe's Pub
425 Lafayette St (off of Astor Place), NYC

Show time 7:00pm
Tickets: $15
Reservations: 212-539-8778

2004 UK Dates

Living Colour are playing UK dates in Nottingham @ Rescue Rooms, Tuesday 26/10/04, Manchester Academy on Wednesday 27/10/04, and BirkenHead - Pacific Roads Art Centre Thursday, 28/10/04.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Did you miss Vernon Reid and Masque on the radio?

Listen to an interview with Vernon Reid as well as live music with his band Masque, from their latest cd "Known Unknown".
(real player or window media players req'd)

June 15-26. Face it, New Yorkers are spoiled. Other cities get a few days for their jazz festivals, we get two full weeks of concerts, and in Carnegie Hall and the Apollo Theater, no less. The schedule includes some 300 performers in 60 concerts, with — take a deep breath and check your credit card limit — a double bill of Ornette Coleman and Abbey Lincoln; João Gilberto; Lou Reed, in his first JVC appearance; Dianne Reeves in a tribute to Sarah Vaughan; Roy Haynes; George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic; Angélique Kidjo; and the Herbie Hancock-Wayne Shorter-Dave Holland-Brian Blade group. A Nina Simone tribute will feature Toni Morrison, Tracy Chapman, Oscar Brown Jr., Floetry, Lizz Wright and James Blood Ulmer with Vernon Reid. (212) 501-1390,

Monday, May 03, 2004

Vernon Reid and Masque Tour 2004

Mon 05/17/04 Trenton, NJ Conduit
Wed 05/19/04 Hartford, CT Webster Theatre / Underground
Thu 05/20/04 Somerville, MA Johnny D's
Fri 05/21/04 Kingston, NY The Forum
Sat 05/22/04 Rochester, NY Montage Grille
Mon 05/24/04 Victoriaville, QC Colises Des Bois
Tue 05/25/04 Ottawa, ON Babylon
Wed 05/26/04 Toronto, ON Big Bop
Thu 05/27/04 Hamilton, ON Underground
Fri 05/28/04 Buffalo, NY Club Infinity
Sat 05/29/04 New York, NY Joe's Pub